pail but by then the hem of my dress is soaked with wet and my feet
are tingling from the cold. The sun has risen behind the cottage so
all I can see is a black silhouette. Once inside, it takes a minute for
my eyes to adjust.
Mrs Rosenheim is making
. It is not as good as
would say, slappingmy prying hands. My fingertips
are tainted red from the thick tomato sauce. I lick them clean, one
by one, standing by the door. Jacob called by last night,
with a smile, but you were already asleep. He is a good boy. I blush
but say nothing. Steady now. I help bring the pot to the table.
His boots are on the stairs,
thud, thunk, thud, thunk
. His eyes are tired
and he is dressed in his uniform, the coat creased from wear and
the pants loose at his knees. He peers through the curtain and
whispers something to Imah but she does not seem to have heard.
She turns away.
Are you hungry? Mrs Rosenheim asks. Yes, please. We eat alone.
Where is Mr Rosenheim? He has gone into the village. Mrs
Rosenheim does not look at me as she says this. Winter is coming,
I say, looking out the window. Mrs Rosenheim nods. Yes, she says.
It is coming.
I laugh as I race down the alley, Jacob close behind me. I stop and
swirl around. You’re quick, I say. Jacob puts his hands on his knees
and tries to catch his breath. But you’re quicker.
We walk to the café, our arms brushing. The gravel crunches
beneath our feet like an old man’s cough. Jacob’s cheeks are pink
from the running and his curls are getting longer, framing his face. A
column of uniforms marches towards us and Jacob puts his arm
around my waist, pulling me closer. Our steps drift to the edge of the
A man at the front of the column calls. We halt. The
old man has died. He coughs no more.
. Jacob’s smile is weak
and the man studies him closely.
Jacob’s hand is tight on my
waist and somehow I know this means to keep my head lowered.
After a moment the old man is resurrected with his cough as the
column marches further down the street. Jacob waits and then lets
out a heavy sigh. He does not let go of my waist. We should go home,
By mid-afternoon it has begun to snow, blanketing the cottage
and its field with cold. White crystals dance in the air outside,
glinting like broken glass, shopfront shattered on the streets as
Seig Heil 2